There must be something in the water in southern Ontario as the quality of bands emerging out of Toronto and its surrounding cities and towns is reaching fever pitch over the last couple of years. While plenty of genres, namely black metal, are healthily represented, the area’s penchant for sludgier tones and hardcore are quite prevalent, whether this the heft of Hammerhands, the uneasiness of Column of Heaven or the biting grind of Homolka.
Brampton’s Sarin are an animal that fits well into this conversation, broadly speaking, with their belligerent sludge-imbued post metal presented on this new full-length album Burial Dream. At a terse 38 minutes, Burial Dream accomplishes a lot and shows that the band has strong grip on crafting dynamics with the album swaying between avalanching riffs and mournful ambient sections throughout while never losing its consistency.
When the opening riffs of ‘As Well as the Body’ unfurl, it also becomes very clear that Isis is a huge influence on Sarin. Granted, plenty of bands of this ilk owe a debt of gratitude to Isis (and Neurosis) for laying down some very important groundwork but Sarin appear to have a very particular affinity. On first listen, it can feel like the band has taken a few too many cues but after repeated listens, Burial Dream really begins to reveal more of itself, of its own side.
‘Monograph’ for example is easily the album’s glistening highlight where gorgeously melodic yet still so heavy guitar work reigns. There’s a very distinct ebb and flow to Burial Dream with each song followed by a brief moody ambient interlude that sees us into the next track, which maintains a sort of broody vibe to counteract the altogether more spirited nature of the album. One such interlude, ‘Windows of the Skull’ for example creates a horror movie-like tension only for the untitled track that follows to totally interrupt that tone with crushing yet ebullient hails of guitar.
The flourishes of melody throughout this album make for the perfect complement to what is generally a devastatingly heavy record. Final track ‘Reverse Mirror’ captures this mood perfectly, enlisting the services of guest vocalist Angela Deveros who lends a lethargic tone with her Mazzy Star tinted vocals that seamlessly gel with the record’s leading barks.
While it’s certainly a derivative album, overall Sarin’s Burial Dream is an impressive record from the Ontarians that displays a wealth of ideas and vigour.